Blizzard discusses Diablo 3’s upcoming 1.0.5 patch in a recent blog post. Of particular note are the new “monster level” options. The options, which must be enabled via options > gameplay, can be set when selecting a level to play. There are to be ten levels, each of which increases the base health and damage of all monsters by increasing amounts. Not only does this give players the ability to increase the difficulty from the outset (the new options will also be available for “normal” mode games), but doing so will also improve the rewards received.
Since the goal of this system isn’t to make the game ultra-hard, with each Monster Power level there’s a heavy emphasis on increased monster health rather than monster damage. This is because, in general, it’s more fun to find ways to maximize your damage than it is to be forced into taking every available form of damage mitigation. We also didn’t want to create situations where “hard to beat” could become “impossible to beat” because players couldn’t survive long enough to make any progress. In our testing, we found that while scaling up monster damage certainly made some fights more challenging, it did so in unfair ways…and also made it quite easy for heroes to be one-shot. Increasing the health of monsters, on the other hand, allowed the game to scale up in difficulty more naturally and in a way that still felt manageable.
This could well be the kick the game needs to get people playing it again.